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Construction on Bally's permanent Chicago casino expected to begin in fall

Construction on Bally's permanent Chicago casino expected to begin in fall
Construction on Bally's permanent Chicago casino expected to begin in fall 01:56

CHICAGO (CBS) – Despite expectations for construction to begin this summer on a permanent Bally's casino in Chicago, a groundbreaking won't actually be held until the fall.

Still, next month, Bally's will take possession of the Tribune Publishing Center, the site of the future permanent casino, near the intersection of Chicago Avenue and Halsted Street in West Town. A temporary casino at the Medinah Temple building in River North opened last September.

The city said the project will entail a $1.7 billion casino and hotel on a portion of the current building, which will include 3,400 slots and 170 table games. The project is expected to create 3,000 permanent casino jobs.

On Tuesday, Bally's also held a resource fair for small business owners interested in providing services for the permanent location on Grand and the temporary casino. Fair organizers said they were looking for help in all sorts of industries, including security, transportation, marketing, and promotions.

As Bally's moves forward with Chicago casino, Mayor Johnson voices concerns 02:35

The event buzzed with despite Mayor Brandon Johnson telling the Chicago Sun-Times on Monday that he was unsure about the fate of the proposed permanent location amid financing concerns raised earlier this year by Bally's investors. 

In an April letter, investors called the idea that Bally's would self-fund the Chicago casino center "reprehensible." They also called on corporate leaders to "pursue operating partnerships conversations" otherwise they could be "jeopardizing the future of the company."

"We're moving forward," said Monica Scott, Bally's community engagement executive director. "We're making progress and Bally's is a reality, so bet on Bally's."

Scott reiterated she's "not at all" worried about the project coming to fruition.

Johnson's office struck a more optimistic tone in a statement on Tuesday and said, "The City is pleased that Bally's has reached its highest revenue numbers so far, and continues to be committed to the permanent casino project."

Johnson's spokesperson did not dispute the mayor's lack of confidence in the project, but said the conversation wasn't exactly reported by other media.

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